Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DIGNITY on stage, above all else...

OK. I understand showmanship.

It's "all part of the act."

It demonstrates a side of the performer not quite perceived at first.

A well-rounded person has many aspects.

Performers "do what hits them" at the moment.

Unconventional often is entertaining.

All of this describes St. Paul and the Broken Bones..

He opened on a darkened stage and a spotlight showed him wearing a priestly cape.

The rest of the soul-searing sextet were arrayed behind him in this very dramatic start to a curious evening

There were songs from Paul Janeway's first album Half Of The City and the newest SEA OF NOISE.

But, I was waiting for the Zany to start.

I first saw St. Paul at the relatively small club The Pour House,  just a few years after they had formed in 2011.

Impressed by the raw energy of this smiling/grinning young version of James Brown, I enjoyed the Southern-fried Soul and Gospel-soaked goodness of his vocals.

I planned to keep an eye on this guy.

Next thing I knew he was opening for the Rolling Stones in Atlanta!

I was there in the audience and saw how well-received he was as he reminded the huge crowd they were from Birmingham, Alabama.

I also enjoyed Mick and the Stones.

This was night number two at the sold out Charleston Music Hall.

Previously I had seen him there and he threw his shoes into the aisle and crawled on his hands and knees to retrieve them. Then, he walked atop arm rests back to the stage.

That was quirky.

This night he threw one gold shoe back over his shoulder, dropped to
his knees and crawled backward under the draped space beneath the drummer's riser.

There he found a stash of fresh fruit and a red apple shot out toward the front of the stage.

That was followed by a yellow banana that he peeled as he emerged, taking a bite and squishing the rest in his hand.


He was already prone as he crawled out, so no chance of slipping on the peel.

It was dangling from his hand as he dragged his right knee through the mushy mess.

A lady in the audience offered him a t-shirt to clean his slippery hands and face as he began to sing again.

(Frankly, I don't recall if he was singing during the previous backward crawl and fruit-tossing action.The visuals filled my consciousness.)

He finished the show and came out for an encore

"I won't sing one song...I'll do FOUR," he announced.

The crowd had stood for most of the show and applauded his intent to give a little bit more of his shake and sweat evening.

No other fruit was introduced and Paul joked that some crew or band members had surprised him with the fruit when he did his crawl.

I had kept my camera ready for any more surprises.

And I was rewarded when he finished his last song, stooped down and started ripping up the gold-colored carpet that had been taped down before the show started.

He thanked us for coming as he fashioned a "cape" and wrapped it around him as he exited stage right to an appreciative -though startled - crowd.

I am so glad there were no restrictions on photography that night!

(Click on the images and links for more details.)

The CMH has exploded with hundreds of shows the last few years under the guidance of Executive Director Charles Carmody.

Thanks, Charles, this evening had a lot of a peell

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Picture This.........

 "Never On Sunday" was a 1960 movie starring Oscar Winner Melina Mercouri.

I flashed on that movie title last weekend as I braved a chilly, dreary, misting, gray day on King Street.

I parked in the Francis Marion garage and quickly checked the hotel lobby for any members of my photography group.

Nope, just me at the 2:00 pm meetup time.

My camera in hand, I wanted to see if anyone else ventured out on this 2nd Sunday on our downtown's main street.

Quick answer - it was not crowded but it wasn't deserted either.

Musicians showed up to entertain, dogs wore snappy-looking sweaters and one fellow quickly adapted to not remembering to bring his gloves.

I complimented him and asked if I could snap a picture of him reacting to a sunless afternoon.

He laughed and said his friends wanted to show him a regular specific Sunday event and he forgot his gloves.

Did not get his name so I have no idea where Saint Joseph might be.

In street photography, you usually do not speak to the person who often is totally unaware you are taking their picture.

A good single shot should tell a story but I often add a caption to make sure the message is sent/received. This young man was glove-less but not a "shoelesss Joe."

These two young ladies braved the late Winter blast of cold air to remind passersby that Spoleto Festival happens in the "real warm Spring."

In April & May, usually fur-lined parkas, scarves and yes - even gloves - are seldom required.

When they realized I might show their picture, the identification was cautiously given as L-R: Jessie R. and Niki D. Or, vice versa.

Tucked into a storefront, out of the wind, was Lauren Swann who fiddled as people briskly walked by.

The talented busker violinist told me she also liked the acoustic effect of stepping back from the sidewalk into a recessed doorway.

I too enjoyed being out of the blustery weather and asked a few more questions.

Lauren said she played with the Summerville Orchestra and the Southcoast Symphony.

I thought of an apt caption for this photo of signage at the small grocery store, not far from the College of Charleston, would be "Bare necessities."

There also was a small notice sign on the door cautioning that there was a resident cat named Sandy inside.

It added that the owner was not responsible for any possible injury and ended with a stipulation that dogs were not allowed inside.

I saw that the skinny dip, Charleston Edition was using 2nd Sunday to offer a sampling of a Nantucket company opening  April 1. A preview pre-opening.

Click on the link and see the Charleston City Paper's story that has plenty of details.

Jennifer, the local nice lady working for the store, answered my questions and quelled my curiosity.

The printed flyer she handed me said one will be able to shop fashion, discover brands and savor a wine or a coffee on the patio.

Seeing her standing at a table of imprinted t-shirts, set up in front of a building obviously still being renovated, made me stop to hear the story. Glad I did and I wish the ladies from Nantucket well.

Several store windows featured mannequins still being attired.

My caption for this would be "An Unarming Outfit."

I am sure they continued assembling the dress display as I moved along.

Other stores were still in the process of window dressing and more than a few smiles were seen as people passed by.

I had seen a sign advising that bicycles should be walked along blocked-off King Street and skateboarders were to carry their conveyance, not ride it.

Good advice for public safety. And, common courtesy.

This sign was in front of a cookie store, close to Calhoun Street, not further down King Street near a Starbucks.

Keeping a safe distance from a Corporate Behemoth is good advice.

But does this shop write your name on the cup?
Or, any name you want to give them?

I have had fun doing this to baristas.

No caption needed for this photo. It is really a cleverly-worded sign...once I figured out the Seattle connection.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

I try to participate in 2nd Sunday several times a year.

This time it was not raining and I try to dress appropriately.

I try to blend in and capture some candid moments.

One new store I saw simply had JAMES painted on the front.

I was tempted to go in and ask if they sold Jammies.

Fortunately for me, they were closed.

Remember, this event happens every month.

Go check it out.

On a designated Sunday.

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

A Blooming Problem....

My yard and neighborhood have some beautiful azaleas.

Multi-colored beauties. A real treat of Springtime!

Er, but it's still Winter. According to the calendar.

That famous Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of cold winter on his big Day.

Tell that to the azaleas. They are blooming mad this year.

We all are enjoying an early Spring now that Winter has been downgraded.

We've had early blooms before and it didn't cause any "problems" but this year it is going to affect Summerville's Flowertown in the Pines.

And, to a much lesser degree, members of my 21st Century Photography Group.

Charles Giet, a member, and long-time Summerville resident has put together an annual azalea photo walk for the last 3 years.

He cleverly times it a week BEFORE the official gathering that draws thousands of visitors.

We roam around with our cameras and take stunning photos of bushes in bloom and avoid any parking problems to see the same flowers others will see 7 days later.

This year he announced it would be Saturday, March 25. Like before ahead of the hordes of people.

Yesterday Charles changed it to this coming Saturday, March 4.

The "Y" in Summerville, the long-time sponsor of the 45th annual flowering event, has yet to announce any changes.

I don't envy them.

We simply sent out an email to our 130+ members and said the date has been moved up. A lot!

We plan to wander around and snap away at the array of colors Mother Nature provides.

(All if these photos were taken - literally - in my back yard in Hanahan.)

I don't know if a Farmers Market can be moved forward a few weekends.

The Taste will force restaurants to quickly rearrange schedules of staff and food preparations.I have no idea if a Jump Castle has to be reserved far in advance. Yikes. The logistics.

The signup for our annual azalea outing looks good.

Most had no problem moving things toward the first of the month instead of the end.

Flexibility comes easier to artists who enjoy the walk, the comradery, the beauty and the challenge to get a great photo.

I'm afraid the scene will be drab by comparison in just a few weeks.

I wish the "Y" well as it scrambles to match its needs with what the weather makes happen.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for taking a sneak preview of our shortened azalea "season" here.

There's always next year!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My son came for a visit...

 Yesterday, my son, his wife and I cruised out to Fort Sumter, a reminder of the Civil War that then divided our country.

It had been many years since I had taken the tour boat out there at the mouth of the harbor in Charleston.

This was toward the end of a 5-day visit my son Chris and his wife Stephanie had made.

They live near San Diego and this was Steph's first time here in the south.

She was eager to see the national monument.

 One feature I remembered was the NPS staff asking
 the visiting tour people
 to assist in the lowering
of the HUGE American flag.

She explained we needed to work together to fold it many, many times, into the familiar triangle shape.

The uniformed National Park ranger warned us to be careful and hold it tight or we'd have to stop and start all over again.

It was a moving patriotic moment, involving many ethnicities, men, women, and children in a spirited joint effort.

I liked the joyful "team" feeling as we all worked together for a common cause.

It all turned out well. 

Then,  we all headed toward the dock and the boat that would carry us back to shore.

It was a perfect way to end the day.

Ours was the last tour and staff closed down the museum and other parts of the fort, and made it secure for the night.

They came aboard the tour boat and rode with us back to the mainland.

I had noticed signage on board that offered cold sodas, bottled water, and snacks available on the way over.

On the return trip across the harbor, beer also now was offered for sale.

Respect for the monument. I liked that.

(Click on the photos and links for details.)

If it's been a while, consider taking the cruise out there on a sunny afternoon.

Thanks for tagging along on a vacation day with my family.

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

How about a HURRAH for Hanahan city workers!

So, the GOOD news is the City of Hanahan dislikes trash piling up on its streets.

The BAD news is the rundown and neglected house next door to me has just been sold and all of the trash, broken furniture, saggy couches and rubbish was hauled out and dumped curbside.

There was so much discarded debris
that it overlapped into my front yard.

The new owner apologized and tried to shift it all back in front of his property but I still had stacked grimy mattresses and broken furniture out front.

This all happened on a Sunday afternoon.

The regular trash pickup day for stuff like this is Thursday but I was doubtful the truck would even slow down when it saw this smelly heap!

Not that I would blame them.

For the next few days, people would stop, pick through the rubbish and even take away some items.

Garbage pickup in my neighborhood is Tuesday and I was hopeful they would see this as garbage but, no, the truck continued on its rounds, lifting garbage cans and emptying them.

My neighbor's woeful trash dump remained where it was.

I had seen city trucks come by on Thursdays to pick up old tv sets and other "strange" discards.
Only a few more days for refuse relief. Sigh.

But, Wednesday morning - normal trash pickup day,  I heard the truck stop out front.

Could it be?

Yes! I came out with my camera to capture the moldy moment.

The crew even stopped to wave when I shouted a heartfelt Thank You!

(I think the lady-in-red was another grateful neighbor who was pleased to see the remains no longer was remaining.)

Anthony, in the red cap, has been a city employee for 11 years and said they really appreciate when a citizen takes the time to thank them for their daily/weekly chores.

As they hefted a sad-looking couch into the powerful maw of the truck, it took only two bites to crunch it to kindling

I shouted, "Did you check the couch for loose change?"

We all had a laugh as they crammed more items into the gaping rear of the hungry truck.

Actually, they had picked up and tossed the mounds of smaller piles a few minutes earlier and shouted they'd be right back for the bigger items.

And the mattresses were the last to go.

They tidied up the area and, with a wave, turned the corner, heading for the next house to be relieved of it tossed items.

I make a point to have money in envelopes ready to hand to each member of the trash crew around Christmas time.

Every year. 

 My dad often would place a cold 6-pack of Pepsi on top of stacks of his discarded wood scraps, especially on hot, humid days. 

He'd wait until he heard the rumble of the approaching truck to take out his cold thank you. 

Maybe they remembered him.

(Click on the photos for more details.) Thanks for stopping by.

My street is looking good again - much neater. I look forward to watching the progress as the formerly decrepit house next door starts to take shape.

Happy in the 'hood.

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Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Mind Is A Wonderful Thing To Change....

As already related, I sat down with Realtors to start steps to move from my long-time, 2-story home, into something smaller and all on one level.

It's called "downsizing" and often happens as one gets older and is living alone.

They researched and said my house would probably sell for $175,000 and I should net about$155,000.

So I started boxing up a lot of clutter that had accumulated during almost 20 years of living here.

Strong young men were hired to lug the many boxes downstairs for storage under the original 800 sf house.

My folks moved from the peninsula in 1962 and immediately my dad added a 50' x 20' workshop downstairs. That was this carpenter/cabinet maker's money-maker.

The Realtor sent over their "staging" lady who would advise me on what to remove or change so they could take photographs to show my place in the best possible manner.

She liked what I had done around my computer desk by removing and storing things but said the cat's 6-foot tall "Condo" climbing and scratching post had to go.

Cats don't deign to explain WHY they do things we don't understand but she was clearly miffed with its removal.

That might have been my first clue about the wisdom of selling this large house that my dad had bought and expanded.

Oh, sure, by removed things, I now showed a lot of open counter space in the oversized kitchen.

I don't "cook" very much - more of a defrost and microwave kinda chef - so that appliance stayed as did my toaster oven.

The Keurig coffee-maker remained because that is where every day begins.

With a large variety of coffee cups, which now were stored out of sight in cupboards.

The Realtor who was going to advise me when I became a "Buyer" (after selling my house) suggested we go take a look at an 1130 sf duplex in nearby Tanner Plantation.

It was a single story and in matchless condition, with a modern array of fashionable colors.

The living room even had a cathedral ceiling.

But, it did not have a garage nor a screened patio out back.

And, as I walked around inside I realized the total floor plan was about the size of my dad's downstairs workshop.

I would leave behind most all of the upstairs 2,000 sf of house I now have.

Three spacious bedrooms, 2 baths (one with a giant shower with 6 heads and tankless water heaters for endless hot water), two living rooms, a huge 21' x 16' kitchen, a large computer room and an even larger tv media room, a carport and a 35' x 10' wooden deck across the back with ceiling fans over the seating areas. YIKES.

And, I liked the new minimalist look of the house that I had worked hard to de-clutter.

So I alerted the Realtors I had had a change of heart. I would stay in The House That Dad Built and cope with stairs if and when my legs started to rebel.

I began the very selective process of bringing back upstairs items I now have stored downstairs.

Not cluttered and stacked haphazardly, but neat and organized.

Before things had slowly evolved, had piled up and had become messy. This was looking at my home with new eyes.

I plan to stay here a long, long time.

A few select framed photos are back up on the walls and the cat is happy to see her Condo is back where it belongs.

When I heard the Realtor's "stager" mention my bedroom was large enough to accommodate a king-size bed, I moved my queen across the room.

It too looks new to me.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

This has been a moving experience for me...without the hassle of actually moving.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

But, all the boxes are empty??

When I came out of the liquor store at Sam's Club, my cart was filled with these sturdy whiskey boxes.

No particular brand preference.

A guy in the parking lot took a look and shouted
"Wow! Have a nice weekend!" 

It has been almost two decades since I last moved but I remembered liquor stores have perfect, large size boxes for packing up your stuff.

George Carlin had defined everything we own as "our stuff."

I have been in my house in Hanahan for 18 years and had discarded all the packing materials years and years ago.

Didn't think I would be moving ever again but then my legs started "hurting" and I realized a two-story house with lots of stairs, probably was not a good long-term idea.

 Evan Dua*, Listing Specialist with the Realtor I chose, told me the first step to showing my home to prospective buyers was to take down my framed photos, diplomas, a Missouri Senate proclamation and all other personal items.

Clear off all the small photos and items sitting on top of flat surfaces

"Let the buyer see open space that he or she will fill," Evan said.

So, I started filling the boxes I brought home. Dang, I have a lot of stuff after living here so long!

I still have the oval-framed photos of my dad, his brother, and his parents hanging on the wall of my spacious master bedroom.

They'll be wrapped in bubble wrap and go into new boxes I have collected.

The bathroom shelves have been emptied and boxed, along with the linen closet in the second bathroom.

It DOES give the familiar home a "new, clean look." Thanks, Evan!

The kitchen is very large and I've just begun clearing it out.

Amazing what accumulates on shelves and other flat surfaces over the years. The box of Scrabble on a shelf had NOT been opened the whole time I've lived here.

The cat food and water bottle will be packed last. Oh yeah, and the two litter boxes in the smaller living room will be moved out of sight into the small spare bedroom.

You start with "I want to sell this house and downsize to a single story one nearby," and then all the steps begin that you have to take to get to the point of being a "Buyer", actually looking at what might be my potential new home.

The sequence, of course, has to be selling my present home at a good price so I can pay for my new, smaller place in full.

No new debt.

I mentioned that the kitchen is large. Very large.

I measured and it's 21' long x 16' wide.

It's standard, I was told, to leave built-in appliances (stove and dishwasher) when you sell a house, but I believe I'll also leave the front-loading washer and the dryer.

Maybe even the side-by-side refrigerator. No sure about that yet.

The Realtors really smiled when we went downstair to look at my dad's former woodworking space. His shop.

Oh yeah, as they say, it's HUGE.

And, if the buyer is into working with wood, one wall of the shop has a 20-foot long x 30" workbench.

And, yes there is a Craftsman Model 100 radial saw built-in. My dad usually shopped Sears.

In 1962, my folks moved into an 800 SqFt house and the first thing he did was expand the house 20 feet x 50 feet to build his shop. Duh, that's how he made his money.

He later expanded the upstairs house to be over his shop and took off a small screen porch and replaced it with the impressive kitchen.

Keep in mind, he was doing all of this by himself.

His skill was fantastic and others who have seen the house said he built it 3x what code required.

When I added a deck out back, the man who was removing the existing landing and stairs my dad had built said it would take several more days.

He added, if it called for 5 or 6 nails, my dad used 20, glued the pieces together and finished by counter-sinking screws.
Yes, sturdy and well-built.

I am thankful mom would wander out back and snap some progress shots with her Kodak Brownie.

This particular photo was taken AFTER dad had clambered up to the original roof peak and extended it at the perfect angle over the 2-story addition.

The Realtor asked me to write a brief history of the house after I mentioned that my dad had built and expanded it in the 1960s.

I figured going back through all of that history deserved to become a posting on my blog.

So, now it is.

My main contribution to the "The House That Dad Built," was when I followed his lead and expanded my standard tub shower.

I had people take out a non-load bearing wall and install a large custom shower with six (6) shower heads.

Yep, six heads, no waiting.

Of course, we then had to discuss how to heat enough water flowing through each head at 2.5 gallons a minute.

A standard40-gallonn water heater would start turning cold in about 3 minutes.

The counterman at the plumbing supply store suggested I get two Rinnai Gas tankless heaters, which I did because we had gas coming to the house so why face a threat of running out of hot water?

The Realtors liked this feature too!

 Dad never did add a garage.

Finally, I got tired of parking under trees that continually dropped sap and having birds add their poop to the mess atop my car.

Found a nearby company that sold and erected just what I needed - a sturdy and affordable carport.

Delivered by two men in a truck, they assembled all the pieces, anchored it securely and walked across the roof to finish details.

They were done in an hour and drove off to deliver another one.

I was pretty sure the roof - with spinning ventilators strung along the ridge - dated back to the 60s.

Had several people come and estimate replacing it.

My pick was the owner of the company in Summerville who came himself, did all the measuring,  and assured me ANY repairs needed would be included.

He said he would never cover a roof unless it was sturdy and in great shape.

I am sure the Realtors will note it was done in late 2010 with a 30-year warranty.

Well, I was asked for a brief history of the house and this is it. "Brief" is not my main trait. Haha.

(Click on the photos and links for more details) Going over all these details reminded me I am really going to miss this house.

I hope for a buyer who will appreciate the skill, love, and labor that went into building it.

*If you want to take a tour, I am sure Evan Dua will make that possible. Just call him or drop him an email.

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